‘Rocketman’ Looks to Duplicate Success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
(Bloomberg) -- After Twentieth Century Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” became the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures is looking to find success with another legendary artist: Elton John.
The studio released a trailer on Thursday for “Rocketman,” which depicts the British rocker’s rise during the 1960s and ’70s. Taron Egerton, known for the “Kingsman” films, stars as John.
The movie, scheduled for May 31, seems well timed. Last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which chronicled the career of Freddie Mercury and Queen, racked up $212.3 million at the domestic box office and $854.6 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo. The performance vaulted it past “Straight Outta Compton” and “Walk the Line” to become the No. 1 music-themed biopic.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” also is nominated for five Oscars at this weekend’s Academy Awards, including best actor (for star Rami Malek) and best picture.
With “Rocketman,” Paramount may be covering some similar themes. Like Mercury, John is a gay man and was heavily involved in the fight against AIDS in the 1980s. But the trailer doesn’t emphasize his sexuality.
One criticism of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was how the film handled the star’s relationships with men and his AIDS-related death. Critics will likely be watching closely how “Rocketman” depicts those themes.
Unlike many biopics, “Rocketman” portrays an artist who is still alive and performing. The 71-year-old John is currently on a 300-plus-show tour called “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.” He’s also an executive producer on the film.
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